Jun 21, 2024  
2019-2020 Catalog 
2019-2020 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Financial Aid

The mission of the UNC Asheville Office of Financial Aid is to provide financial assistance that helps students remove the financial barriers to obtaining a college education.  Our goal is to help each student attend UNC Asheville regardless of financial difficulties.

UNC Asheville offers a broad program of financial aid for students who qualify on the basis of need and academic potential. Financial aid may consist of a scholarship, a grant, a North Carolina grant, a loan, campus employment or a combination of these. Assistance provided by the University will supplement the resources of students and their parents and should not be relied upon to defray all expenses.

Applicants for financial aid must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at https://fafsa.ed.gov, indicating UNC Asheville as the college choice with federal school code 002907.

Financial aid applications for the academic year beginning in August will be available October 1 of the preceding calendar year. Financial aid will be awarded on the basis of need as funding permits. Financial aid packages are made to students only after they have been offered admission for a given term.

The types of financial aid offered by the university are outlined below. Additional information is available from the Office of Financial Aid’s website at https://financialaid.unca.edu/.

All financial aid is subject to change based on Federal and State funding.

How Need Is Assessed

Financial need is determined by the FAFSA. The FAFSA provides UNC Asheville with an Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is subtracted from the estimated cost of attendance (COA). If the EFC is less than the COA, the student is determined to have a financial need and could receive grants, work study and loans. If the EFC is greater than the COA, the student is determined to have no financial need and may receive only unsubsidized loans and/or merit scholarships.

Eligibility for Financial Aid

Students eligible to receive financial aid are as follows: degree-seeking undergraduates pursuing their first baccalaureate degree with fewer than 180 cumulative attempted credit hours (including transfer hours); degree-seeking students pursing a second undergraduate degree with fewer than 230 attempted hours; and teacher licensure students who are enrolled in courses required to complete the licensure program.

Visiting students, non-degree seeking students, and students who have exceeded the Maximum Time Limit (see Satisfactory Academic Progress policy) are not eligible to receive financial aid.

Financial Aid Census Date Policy

In accordance with federal and state regulations, the Office of Financial Aid will recalculate federal, state and institutional student aid awards based on the student’s enrollment status on the published census date established by the Office of the Registrar. The census date is typically the end of the 10th day of class for both fall and spring terms. The census date for summer will vary based on the term in which courses are taken.

Changes cannot be made after the census date to awards from the Federal Pell Grant program, the Federal Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant, the Federal Perkins Loan program, and the Federal Work Study program. Changes to Federal Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and PLUS loan programs are allowed after census date as long as the student meets all other eligibility requirements. Eligibility for funds from the federal programs may be affected for students whose FAFSA information was submitted or corrected after the census date.

Financial aid is awarded to eligible students prior to the start of the semester, based on the assumption that they will be enrolled in a full-time status (12 or more credit hours). Students whose credit hours are below full-time on census day may be required to repay some or all of the aid that was initially disbursed.  Students are not eligible to receive additional funding for any credits added after the census date.  Students who are taking a Term I or Term II course within a semester could have adjustments made to their Financial Aid if they drop the course and it brings their enrollment below full-time status.   

Federal and State Funds

Federal Pell Grant Program


Federal Pell Grants are awarded based on the student’s financial need, cost of attendance, status as a full-time or part-time student, and whether they will attend school for a full academic year. The maximum value of the Pell Grant can change annually based on federal funding. The Pell Grant does not have to be repaid. Students apply for a federal Pell Grant by completing a FAFSA.

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant

This grant provides assistance for students with exceptional financial need. It does not have to be repaid. This grant is funded by the federal government. Students apply for this grant by completing a FAFSA.

Federal Work-Study Program

The program provides on- and off-campus jobs (10 hours/week) for students who demonstrate financial need and meet the qualifications set forth by the federal government. Students must indicate they are interested in Federal Work-Study on their FAFSA.

Federal Direct Loan Program

The Federal Direct Loan is a long-term, low-interest loan. It is designed to provide students with additional funds for college. Loan funds are borrowed in the student’s name, making the student responsible for repayment. This program includes both Subsidized and Unsubsidized loans. Students must complete a FAFSA to apply for this program. For more eligibility information, visit the Office of Financial Aid website, https://financialaid.unca.edu/.

William D. Ford Federal Direct Parent Loan Program (PLUS Loan)

Parents of full-time or part-time dependent undergraduate students may borrow amounts that equal cost minus financial aid. Applications are available at https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action.

Federal Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loan Annual Borrowing Limits

Dependent Undergraduate Students (except students whose parents are unable to borrow a PLUS loan) 
     Total  Subsidized Unsubsidized         
  Freshmen $5,500  $3,500  $2,000    
  Sophomore   6,500    4,500  2,000    
  Juniors   7,500    5,500  2,000    
  Seniors   7,500    5,500  2,000    
Independent Undergraduate Students (and dependent students whose parents are unable to borrow a PLUS loan)        
  Freshman $9,500 $3,500 $6,000        
  Sophomore 10,500   4,500   6,000        
  Junior 12,500   5,500   7,000        
  Senior 12,500   5,500   7,000        

Graduate and Professional Students
Graduate and professional students may receive a maximum of $20,500 of unsubsidized loans each year.  

Federal TEACH Grant

The TEACH program provides grants of up to $4,000 per year to students who agree to serve as full-time teachers in a high-need field in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves low-income students. As a recipient of a TEACH Grant, students must teach for at least four academic years. This four-year service obligation must be completed within eight calendar years of completing the program of study for which a TEACH Grant was received.

North Carolina State Grants

North Carolina Education Lottery Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded by the State of North Carolina. It is provided on the basis of financial need determined by the FAFSA. Eligible students must be North Carolina residents for tuition purposes, be enrolled in at least six credit hours, and be undergraduate student seeking their first bachelor’s degree. The student’s initial award is based on the assumption that they will be full-time. If the student is enrolled between 6 and 11 hours, the student is only eligible to receive half of the originally offered amount. Students are not eligible for this funding once they have 132 attempted credit hours. Students must complete a FAFSA to be eligible for this funding.

Incentive Scholarship and Grant Program for Native Americans

The North Carolina General Assembly has provided funds for a number of need-based grants to resident North Carolina Native American students who attend universities within the UNC System. Eligibility for funding under this program is limited to a person qualifying as follows:

  • admitted or enrolled as a student in good standing in a degree program at UNC Asheville;
  • classified by North Carolina as a resident for tuition purposes;determined to have financial need by UNC Asheville;
  • and is an individual who maintains cultural identification as a Native American through membership in a tribe recognized by the state of North Carolina or by the federal government or through other tribal affiliation or community recognition.

University of North Carolina Need-Based Grant

This program is administered by the College Foundation of North Carolina and provides grants to North Carolina residents who are enrolled at the university at least half time. This grant is limited to eight semesters. Students must complete a FAFSA to be eligible for this funding.. 

Institutional Grants

The UNC Asheville Academic Grant

The UNC Asheville Academic Grant is available to both first-time, first-year freshman students as well as transfer students for use in the fall and spring semesters. The Academic Grant is awarded as a resource to support student success based on both academic merit and financial need. Demonstrated need is required for the grant, so students interested in the Academic Grant must submit the FAFSA each year to be considered.

The UNC Asheville Need-Based Grant

This grant enables students who qualify for financial assistance to begin or continue their education at the university. Eligible candidates must be residents of North Carolina and must be full-time students in the academic year for which they request aid. The grant has limited funding.

University Scholarships 

The Pisgah Scholars Program

The Pisgah Scholars Program is a comprehensive scholarship program offered exclusively to first-time, first-year freshman applicants admitted to UNC Asheville.  Students are considered for the Pisgah Scholars program following a comprehensive review of their academic and non-academic information to demonstrate their potential for excellence as members of the UNC Asheville community. The criteria considered when reviewing a candidate as a Pisgah Scholar include, but are not limited to:

  • Academic excellence, as demonstrated by a high grade point average during high school or above average scores on the SAT or ACT
  • Interest in or passion for an academic program offered by UNC Asheville
  • Extracurricular engagement
  • Exemplary community service or community leadership

Pisgah Scholars scholarships are available for up to eight consecutive semesters (4 years), beginning with the student’s initial enrollment as a first-time, first year student. Recipients will retain the Pisgah Scholars designation, and the corresponding scholarship value, provided they maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade-point average (GPA) at UNC Asheville and remain continuously enrolled as full-time, degree-seeking students. Pisgah Scholars who have a break in their enrollment risk losing the Pisgah Scholars designation, along with the corresponding scholarship value, for the remainder of their enrollment at UNC Asheville.

Awarding of the Pisgah Scholars scholarships occurs after applicants are offered admission and continues as long as funding is available. Therefore, candidates who are interested in receiving consideration as Pisgah Scholars are encouraged to apply for admission as early as possible to maximize the possibility of full consideration for the award. Pisgah Scholars will be initially announced around December 15. After December 15, Pisgah Scholars will be notified of their selection within 2-3 weeks of their initial offer of admission. All recipients will be notified of their Pisgah Scholar designation in writing. 

Transfer Scholarships

Students seeking to transfer to UNC Asheville can also be considered for scholarship opportunities based on the merits of their application. Transfer students who demonstrate strong academic achievement through either their grade point average or a body of coursework that would demonstrate high probability of success at UNC Asheville will automatically be considered for scholarships as part of their application for admission.

These scholarships are renewable and may be received for a second year as long as the student remains enrolled full-time and maintains at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA at UNC Asheville. The awarding of Transfer Scholarships is based on fund availability.

Transfer students seeking to be considered for merit scholarship opportunities must apply to UNC Asheville by April 15 if they seek admission to the fall semester, or by November 15 if they seek admission to the spring semester.

Departmental Academic Scholarships

Through the generosity of past and present donors, UNC Asheville offers a variety of scholarships to continuing students who succeed in their academic programs. These scholarships are awarded by academic departments in accordance with federal guidelines and based on specified criteria.

To be considered, students should submit their FAFSA to the federal processor by March 1 and ensure they have completed any applications required by their academic department. These scholarships are typically non-renewable and are subject to applicant pool and fund availability. UNC Asheville’s academic department scholarships are merit-based and require a minimum 3.0 GPA with few exceptions. Some academic department scholarships require a student show need through a FAFSA application.


Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy for Financial Aid Recipients

Federal regulations require all schools participating in Title IV Federal Financial Aid Programs to have a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy. The requirements of this policy apply to all students seeking a baccalaureate degree and effect eligibility for financial aid. 

The SAP policy must measure a student’s progress both qualitatively (Cumulative GPA) and quantitatively (Completion Ratio).  In addition, students are also required to complete their degree requirements within a certain period of time (Maximum Time Limit). This requirement applies to all applicants and recipients of financial aid. Financial Aid is defined as all federal, state, and institutional aid.

For SAP purposes, student academic records are evaluated by the Office of Financial Aid at the end of each semester. Students will receive one of three SAP conditions: Good, Warning or Cancelled.  If aid is cancelled, the student may appeal (see Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Process section). If the appeal is granted, students will be awarded aid on a probationary status. The Office of Financial Aid will send notification of eligibility to students through their official UNC Asheville e-mail account.

Students who are suspended or dismissed from the institution will immediately become ineligible for financial aid. Students who withdraw from all courses in two consecutive semesters while receiving financial aid will not be eligible for reinstatement based on appeal. In such cases, the student will be expected to successfully complete, with all passing grades, a full-time semester of coursework before appealing for reinstatement.

Cumulative Grade Point Average (Qualitative Measure)

To be eligible for financial aid, students must maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative and term GPA. Some institutional scholarships or grants may require a higher academic achievement than those defined by the SAP criteria. Private aid offered by agencies outside the University is not subject to the conditions of this policy, but will be administered according to donor specifications.

Completion Ratio (Quantitative Measure)

UNC Asheville recommends students earn at least 30 semester hours per academic year in order to graduate in four years. To remain eligible for financial aid, students must earn at least 67% of the total cumulative hours attempted. Attempted hours include all credits accepted in transfer as well as those attempted at UNC Asheville. Students must receive grades of A, B, C, D (including “+/-“), or S to earn hours.  

For financial aid purposes, the following are not included as part of the cumulative earned hours at UNC Asheville; however, they are included in the attempted hours:

  • Grades of F, I, IP, U, W or X/Y (audit) do not earn hours.
  • If a student repeats a course, the total attempted hours will increase with each repeat, but the student will only earn hours for a successfully completed course once.Repeating courses may negatively affect the student’s ability to satisfy the Completion Ratio standard.
  • Incomplete grades (I) count toward attempted hours but will not count toward earned hours until the I grade is replaced by a grade that contributes to earned hours.In-Progress grades (IP) count toward attempted hours but will not count toward earned hours until the IP grade is replaced by a grade that contributes to earned hours.
  • Audited courses (X/Y) count toward attempted hours but not toward earned hours. Therefore, auditing classes may negatively affect the student’s ability to earn the required number of hours.

Federal regulations have amended the definition of a full-time student to allow repeated coursework to count toward enrollment status in term-based programs. Students may repeat a previously passed course once and be paid with Title IV aid accordingly. Students may repeat a failed course until it is passed and be paid. However, as stated above, grades of “F” do not count as earned hours. Repeating any coursework may ultimately impact a student’s maximum time limit, GPA and completion ratio as it relates to Title IV eligibility.

Maximum Time Limit

To remain eligible for financial aid, undergraduate students seeking their first baccalaureate degree must complete their requirements within 150% of the published length of their academic program, including students seeking more than one major or minor.  Therefore, students seeking a first baccalaureate degree must complete their requirements within 180 attempted hours to remain eligible for financial aid. However, because most UNC Asheville programs require no more than 120 hours to complete, students are not eligible to receive additional Title IV aid once they have fulfilled requirements to graduate.  If a student elects to postpone taking required courses to avoid graduation, while continuing to take courses not required for their program, they will no longer be eligible for aid.

Student records are evaluated at the end of each semester for SAP.  If this review shows that the student who has surpassed the 120-hour minimum requirement (100%) cannot complete his or her program within 180 credits (150%), the student will no longer be eligible for Title IV aid.

Students will not be eligible for federal, state or institutional aid once they exceed the Maximum Time Limit, even if they have not graduated.

Exceptions to the 180 Credit-Hour Maximum for the First Baccalaureate Degree

  • Students in the Mechatronics or Teacher Licensure programs must complete their requirements in 192 cumulative attempted hours. 
  • Students seeking a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree must complete their degree in 188 cumulative attempted hours.

Satisfactory Academic Progress and Maximum Time Limit for Post-Baccalaureate and Teacher Licensure Students
Students seeking a second undergraduate degree or teacher licensure are subject to the same SAP requirements as listed above for students seeking their initial baccalaureate degree. Students seeking a second undergraduate degree must complete their requirements within 230 cumulative attempted hours. Students in the Teacher Licensure programs must complete their requirements in 192 cumulative attempted hours. 

Satisfactory Academic Progress and Maximum Time Limit for Graduate Students
Graduate (MLAS) students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher and may not fail or withdraw from any classes to remain eligible for financial aid. Graduate students do not receive a warning period. Students pursuing a graduate degree in the Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences program must complete their degree in 54 cumulative attempted hours.

Satisfactory Academic Progress for Study Abroad Students
Students who participate in study abroad during any term will be evaluated for SAP at the end of the term. If transcripts are not received by the end of the term, students will be placed on Warning status for one semester. If transcripts are still not received by the review time for the following term, aid will be cancelled. If this happens, students will be required to follow the SAP appeal process to have aid reinstated. Students must complete a minimum of 67% of the hours attempted. 

Warning Status

Warning status for financial aid will be assigned at the end of the semester to students who fail to make SAP. Students under Warning status may continue to receive Title IV aid for one payment period with no appeal.

If at the end of the one payment period the student is still not making SAP, financial aid will be cancelled. Students must then appeal to receive additional financial aid. The appeal is subject to review and approval by the SAP Appeal Committee. Students should be prepared to pay until the appeal is considered and a decision is rendered.

Cancellation Status

Failure to achieve the required GPA and/or completion ratio while on Warning status will result in a student’s financial aid being cancelled. Students are not eligible to receive financial aid when in Cancellation status. To regain eligibility to receive financial aid, students must improve their GPA to the minimum requirement of a 2.0 and/or complete 67% of the credit hours attempted. 

Students with extenuating circumstances may be eligible to appeal for reinstatement of aid (see Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Process section).

All “F” Grades or Zero GPA

Students receiving all F grades, or having a zero GPA in one semester, will have their status moved directly to Cancellation status without a semester of Warning status. Until the required hours are earned or the GPA requirement is met, the student is responsible for all charges due to the University.

Students in this situation will be required to pay for one semester even if they are meeting all other SAP requirements. They will also be required to submit an Academic Plan for review by the SAP Committee and the Enrollment Services Committee. If a student unofficially withdraws, aid for that semester is subject to the R2T4 Federal Calculation of repayment and state refund calculation.

Students with extenuating circumstances may be eligible to appeal for reinstatement of aid (see Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Process section).

Regaining Eligibility for Financial Aid

If students lose eligibility to receive financial aid because they do not meet the qualitative and/or quantitative measures, they can regain eligibility by:

  • raising their cumulative GPA by taking courses and earning hours at UNC Asheville (these courses cannot be taken at other institutions); and
  • successfully completing a minimum of 67% of the attempted coursework at UNC Asheville

Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Process

Students whose financial aid was cancelled due to GPA and/or completion ratio standards may be eligible to appeal for reinstatement. If one of the following circumstances exists, students should submit a completed Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form, providing the required documentation. Appeals submitted without proper documentation will be denied.

  • Death in the family
  • Medical Illness (Personal/Immediate family)
  • Loss of a job
  • Divorce or Separation

Students with chronic conditions are responsible for properly balancing work with known chronic conditions, and appeals for more than one waiver will not be considered.

Students seeking to re-establish financial aid eligibility remain ineligible to receive financial aid assistance or deferment of payment until the appeal process is complete and a decision has been made by the SAP Appeal Committee. Students should be prepared to pay until the appeal is reviewed and a decision rendered.

Submitting an appeal with the required documentation does not guarantee that the appeal will be approved. The documentation will be reviewed by the SAP Appeal Committee and a decision will be made at that time. Notification regarding the decision of the appeal will be sent to the student’s UNC Asheville email address. 

Steps for Appealing

  1. Complete the UNC Asheville Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal (SAP) form, available at https://financialaid.unca.edu/forms/.  
  2. Attach a personal letter, describing, in detail, the extenuating circumstances that led to the loss of Satisfactory Academic Progress, and what steps will be taken to assure SAP will be maintained in the future.
  3. Submit the SAP Appeal form and all of the required documentation to the UNC Asheville Office of Financial Aid. Acceptable documentation for the appeal is as follows:
  • For Death of Immediate Family Member: A copy of the Death Certificate or newspaper clipping that states your relationship to the deceased.
  • For Illness: Statement from physician explaining the type of illness and the date and length of the illness.
  • Other: Proper documentation surrounding the circumstances.

Appeals must be received in the Office of Financial Aid at least 30 days prior to the start of the semester for which the student is trying to reestablish eligibility. Students appealing after this time frame should be prepared to pay for the semester expenses. If the appeal is granted, students cannot submit appeals for other semesters citing the same extenuating circumstances. Students whose appeals are approved will receive aid on a probationary status.

Financial Aid Probation Period

Financial aid probation occurs for all students who fail to make SAP and/or have appealed. It may also occur for students whose eligibility for financial aid was conditionally reinstated. The Office of Financial Aid may impose conditions for student’s continued eligibility to receive financial aid during this period. If the Office of Financial Aid does not impose conditions for a student’s continued eligibility, the student may receive aid for one additional payment period. If at the end of the unconditional payment period the student still fails to make SAP, all financial aid will be canceled until the student can regain SAP standards. The student should be prepared to pay expenses out-of-pocket until SAP is re-established. After the financial aid probation period, the student must be making SAP or must be successfully following an academic plan. There are no exceptions to this condition.

Denied Appeals

If the appeal is denied by the SAP Appeal Committee, and students wish to pursue it further, they may appeal to the Enrollment Services Advisory Committee. If the appeal is denied by one or both committees, students must pay for the semester expenses until satisfactory academic progress is reestablished.

If SAP wasn’t maintained due to a deficiency in hours (quantitative measure), students may take courses at another institution as long as UNC Asheville will accept the courses in transfer. This process must first be approved by the Office of the Registrar at UNC Asheville.

If the deficiency is due to GPA (qualitative measure), any additional courses must be taken at UNC Asheville since the GPA is calculated using only UNC Asheville courses.

After completing the semester being used to reestablish SAP, students must submit another appeal form to the Office of Financial Aid as outlined above in Steps for Appealing.

Repayment for Returned Financial Aid

UNC Asheville has a federally mandated Return of Funds Policy that governs the return of federal financial aid funds, as well as a refund policy for North Carolina state funds disbursed to students who completely withdraw from the University. If a student completely withdraws, or is removed from the University for disciplinary or conduct reasons, they must return unearned student aid. Funds are earned in direct proportion to the length of time a student remains enrolled each semester. If the amount of funds disbursed is greater than the amount of funds earned by a student, a return of funds is required. Both the University and the student are responsible for returning a percentage of the unearned aid.